Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The £1,500 eReader

VentureBeat review gave us something to think about, the $1,500 digital reader from Intel.

We automatically think is this like comparing apples and oranges , or eInk lookie likies with netbooks or elusive tablets?

The chunky device is not aimed at the average reader but millions who have eyesight problems and need something more suited to their needs. The market is huge but so is the challenge of getting adoption to a device that is aimed at being a reader of all matter; books, t a restaurant menu, a timetable, or a web site. It has a 5-megapixel digital camera that can capture text and read it back. It can read text in the DAISY format, plain text, as well as play other formats such as MP3 music files. The issue is capturing the text as that may sound simple to many but as a task may itself be daunting to some with sight challenges.

An optional book scanning system, the Intel Portable Capture Station, enables users to digitize books with ease, but again why not sort the problem at source and in particular digitize more books and create more audio books for this sector?

Here’s a video of the Intel Reader in action:

I asked my mother in law what she thought of the idea given she is a book lover, an author of some 34 published novels and a winner of woman of the year as she is registered blind. She says she has been shown a similar device that cost £450 but that she only wanted it for the portability but when out she finds it more enjoyable and sociable to get someone to read things such as menus out to her. She also found she just couldn’t be bothered to ‘faff around’ when she is out. She does a lot of reading at her desk, but has a auto focusing camera and scanner set-up which she uses and I will vouch for that even when the images are huge with the characters 6” high! She also has a total PC environment that works 100% on voice recognition.

So there is a need and these devices are as important as others but we must ensure we compare apples with apples.

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